Blog and Artwork updates of Singapore caricaturist, portrait artist and illustrator - Jit

Kindly note that rates quoted do not include the release of copyright ownership.
All copyright ownership resides with Portrait Workshop.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Illustrations for CNB (Central Narcotics Bureau, Singapore) - Essay 11

Dawn Oh Ruini
Ai Tong Primary School, 6B

My parents and teachers have always warned me about the consequences of taking drugs, but not once have I ever taken heed or paid even the slightest bit of attention to them. I was just a lonely high-schooler trudging down the dark alleys that day, when a gang of college students confronted me. They had yellowish teeth and glazed eyes. The thing I found most revolting about them was their aloof look and nasty, torn clothing that smelled terrible. I frowned when they were caught in a fit of uncontrollable coughing. The nauseating air was laid thick with smoke and I could feel it plaguing my sensitive lungs. Choking, I scoffed at them, a tough look etched onto my features—an automatic response to intimidating people that was developed after years of being bullied.

“What do you guys want?” I demanded, determined to force them to back off. However, a teenage boy with long, matted black hair simply smiled and stepped up to me. He extended a palm and I looked down, confidence leaking away rapidly, only to find a small transparent bottle filled with mild, yellow-coloured pills. At first, I was filled with confusion. What could they possibly be expecting from me?

A rough, raspy voice answered the unspoken. My eyes widened in shock. Words immediately flooded my already stressed mind and uncertain thoughts whirled through my head. Drugs, he had said. Drugs…

I was enticed. My father’s words of advice kept ringing in my ears. I had promised never to accept drugs. I shivered. I honestly did not know what to do. In the blink of an eye, before I could think rationally about what had happened, the boy holding the bottle of drugs dumped it into my hands and bolted away. The rest of his gang followed suit, their amused laughter echoing throughout the passage behind them.

I took a deep breath and tucked the tiny bottle into my back pocket. Thinking back, I decided to return there the next day and fling the drug pellets back at those freak boys. I nodded my head in agreement to my own plan as an action of reassurance, and strolled back home.

When I reached my house, I extracted the bottle of drug pills from my pocket and stored it in a little toy chest. I locked it tight and put it in my cupboard drawer, carefully obscuring it from view with piles of documents. During the rest of the day, I felt as though I was drawn towards the drugs. The temptation was great, the urges hard to bear. Finally, I gave up and took the bottle of drugs back out. What harm could just one pellet do?

As I look back upon my actions, I feel ashamed. I had screwed open the bottle and popped a drug pill into my mouth. The effect was instantaneous. I felt as though I could conquer the world as I flew over fluffy white clouds. But that was not meant to be. In just a mere twenty minutes, I was plunged into a world of darkness and misery.

Soon after, I went through a systematic withdrawal from social life. I often locked myself up in my room, going through rounds of hallucinations as I continued to swallow illegal drugs. My conscious mind told me firmly that taking drugs was wrong, but I kept doing it. I did not know why, and was infuriated with myself. The worst thing was, my parents had no idea about what was happening to me.

One fateful night, while I was lying awake in bed, too stricken with fear to fall asleep, I heard some people press the doorbell. My ears picked up the light thumps of my father’s night shoes as he shuffled to the door. There was a gasp of shock as the strangers and Dad talked in muffled voices. Another set of noises alerted me to my mother as she went to join my father.

I did not pay them much attention. At least, until they came barging into my room. A man dressed in a crisp, smart uniform stormed over to me and dragged me out of bed unceremoniously.

Ai Tong Primary School Dawn Oh Ruini - illustration 1 colour

Only then did I notice the gleaming tears on my mother and father’s pink cheeks as they flowed freely from their puffy red eyes. Dread filled me as my scrawny form was hauled out of the door, away from my home and into a van.

I soon learned that the strangers who took me away were narcotics officers. They had arrested me for taking drugs. My symptoms must have been showing drastically for them to have discovered my deadly secret.

Within a few weeks, I was sent to a rehabilitation centre. The centre was filled with many different people, and for once in a long time, I felt curious and ultimately fascinated by the many activities they conducted to turn people away from drugs. There were games and courses like carpentry for training drug addicts to be able to have some skills for earning money when they left the centre. I was excited and joined in with the other teens voluntarily, elated at the chance to make some friends once again.

However, there was a major setback for me. Being addicted to drugs, I could not stand not taking them. After each passing day, I became more and more irritable and routinely caught serious illnesses. The people rehabilitating me could not help but wonder whether I would make it. The extended periods of time without having drugs slowly destroyed my personality, and I grew into someone people were frightened of, and yet despised.

My parents visited me one afternoon. Mother, being emotionally unstable since I left the house, dissolved into tears the moment she saw me. That gesture of her love, worry and concern for me snapped me out of my cravings for drugs, as nothing else had. Looking into their care-filled eyes, I vowed to overcome drugs. My mother sobbed into my father’s shoulder, and I spared them a parting glance before heading back to my activities and rehabilitation courses.

The urges for drugs haunted me every day, but I did not succumb to them. I just gritted my teeth against the temptations and sprinted forward, away from it all. I focused on my training and rebuilt my mental stability. Listening to and agreeing with an adviser of the centre, I tried to be nicer to others, to be less impatient and to control by boiling temper. Gradually, my efforts took effect. I no longer had to suffer the nightmares and other lingering effects of drugs. Even my physique had improved by a large margin.

The other teens at the rehabilitation centre began to accept me into their group when they realised how I tried to change. I worked beside them, encouraging them to reach for their dreams and give up the life of a hopeless drug addict. I began to get through to them and was given the credit for helping a certain few achieve the goal of surpassing drugs.

My records in the centre were top grade, and I was released in just a few months as opposed to a few years. I felt overwhelming pride that day, and I still remember the warm embrace my parents gave me. They felt proud of me too, despite my past mistakes.

Presently, I am working as a rehabilitation specialist. I had realised my passion for giving others a helping hand. I always visit my aged parents even though I already have an apartment of my own. It is my way of saying thank you for their care and concern for me when I was younger and less mature.

Ai Tong Primary School Dawn Oh Ruini - illustration 2 colour

So as to protect my strong beliefs, and for the sake of my parents, I swore to never, ever indulge in drugs again.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...